Miss You Already

Posted on November 5, 2015 at 5:22 pm

Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
Profanity: Very strong and crude language
Alcohol/ Drugs: Drinking, drug references
Violence/ Scariness: Serious illness, sad death, some graphic and disturbing images
Diversity Issues: None
Date Released to Theaters: November 6, 2015

Copyright Lionsgate 2015
Copyright Lionsgate 2015
Friendship has the best aspects of romantic love and the best of family love, and the worst of both as well. Your friends as are close to you as anyone in the world, which means you can rely on them and they can rely on you, whether it’s telling you if your butt looks too fat in those jeans or you need someone to come pick you up because a date has gone horribly wrong. And it means that they can hurt you terribly, because they mean so much to you and because you trust them and because they know you so well.

And yet, while there are hundreds of thousands of movies about love and family, there are not very many great movies about friendship. “Miss You Already,” from director Catherine Hardwicke, is a worthy attempt, the story of two women who were friends since childhood, and whose friendship is nearly destroyed by the complications of grown-up life. Though it appears only once in the film, the title refers to a catchphrase the two women use to say goodbye, making fun of themselves for being so deeply in one another’s lives, but really meaning it, too.

Drew Barrymore plays Jess, an American living in England and the more serious and responsible of the pair. Toni Collette is Milly, the wild party girl who improbably is living happily ever after with Kit (Dominic Cooper), the roadie who got her pregnant and then married her, started a successful business, and turned out to be a wonderful husband and father. They have darling children, a beautiful home, and satisfying careers and they are still mad for each other. Jess is happily married to Jago (Paddy Considine), though they do not have any money and are struggling with fertility problems. But they live on an adorable houseboat. It is one of the movie’s wisest choices that the husbands are not complaining (most of the time) or complained about. They are full partners to their wives and full partners in supporting the friendship.

Milly has always lived lightly, skimming along the top of life, still a party girl at heart. She loves her husband, children, and Jess, but she is admittedly superficial and vain. And then she gets a cancer diagnosis. Jess is happy to live up to the assigned tasks of “bringing treats and not being annoying” to help Milly through chemotherapy. And wig shopping (with the wonderful Frances de la Tour). And changing dressings. But she believes that Milly’s illness is so all-consuming that she cannot share what is going on in her life. And then Milly does something that creates the first serious breach in their relationship.

Yes, we’re in “Beaches” territory, so get out your handkerchiefs. Drew and Collette make a touching screen team, and Jacqueline Bisset, almost unrecognizable with platinum blonde hair, is a welcome antidote to over-sentimentality as Milly’s self-absorbed mother, a moderately successful actress. Hardwicke, who began her career as a production designer, has a superb eye and a great gift for using the settings to tell the story. If she cannot avoid the usual touchstones of women’s friendship movies (singing along to a favorite pop song), at least she changes it up a little — REM in a taxi instead of the usual Motown into a hairbrush. “Miss You Already” will make you want to call a friend you miss, and then bring her along to see it again.

Parents should know that this film includes very strong language, sexual references and situations, serious illness with some graphic images, a very sad death, a childbirth scene, alcohol and drug references.

Family discussion: What makes a great friendship? Ask family members about their most important friendships, how they met and their favorite moments.

If you like this, try: “50/50” and “Beaches”

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